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Archive for the 'Citizen Journalism' Category

Sunday, December 13th, 2009


by Amani Channel

My wife recently attended the Atlanta Mocha Moms 5th Annual Christmas Tea.

Henderworks captured and shared the event using a Canon 7D.

The 7D is a great still camera that also shoots HD video. I haven’t gotten the chance to test it out, but this is an amazing camera.

Thanks for shooting and sharing.

Mocha Moms 5th Annual Christmas Tea 12/5/09 from HENDERWORKS on Vimeo.


Monday, December 7th, 2009


by Amani Channel
Response to Jeremy Porter

I made the video above three years ago after I moved to Atlanta Georgia from Tampa Florida. In a past life I worked as a reporter for Fox 13… Still the debate rages. What is citizen journalism? How do citizen journalists and traditional journalists interact, compete, or collaborate to create content?

The term citizen journalism has certainly become a buzzword in media circles. It generally refers to individuals who are non-professional journalists who capture and share newsworthy content.

One of the most noted examples was the Virginia Tech student who captured the only sounds of the massacre with his Nokia cell phone, and shared it with CNN. He happened to be at the right place at the right moment.

The Web has certainly played an instrumental role in the public’s ability to gather and share content, but is citizen journalism really that new?

Think back to the Rodney King beat down. It was a citizen who captured the vicious incident. Back then the news referred to it as “home video.”

During the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, numerous individuals captured the events from just about every angle. Initially, the media feasted on the pictures of the planes swooping down and crashing into the edifices. Eventually, the station that I worked for (and I assume that many others) was ordered from the suits to stop airing the footage. Even shots of the collapsing buildings were banned from being aired.

The media shift was already in full swing. Internet users were taking the media into their own hands. The Drudge Report scooped mainstream media with the Monica Lewinsky/Clinton scandal. It wasn’t because reporters and networks weren’t aware of the controversy, it’s that news outlets were being pressured politically to stay mute.

Everyone should know that he information game called news isn’t always about informing people about real issues and problems. It’s also about money and image. But fewer people are tuning in, and the image that traditional news outlets can provide the sole source of credible information is crumbling.

Journalistics provides an interesting analysis of the reason why traditional journalists don’t care for citizen produced information. I would argue that it is part fear, part jealousy, and part a lack of control of coveted information.

Journalists in general are good, hardworking people who are seeking the truth while trying to make deadline. Media companies though have profited from controlling information, and setting the agenda for something that has always belonged to the public, free information. In many cases fear, materialism, and the reinforcement of stereotypes is the only thing you will find on “Channel Zero.”

It is no secret that mass media is evolving to reflect the natural peer-to-peer way we communicate with a viral twist. The communications model has always included: a sender > channel > noise > receiver > feedback. The sender and channel now includes anyone who can use technology to share information, and drive clicks. It can be through a blog, email message, or online video. The receiver is anyone who can click on a link that interests them. The feedback comes from comments, tweets, and conversations that are generated from the information.

CNN has one of the most progressive mainstream models for integrating citizen media though it’s iReport community. In conversations with staffers, they don’t refer to the content as “citizen journalism,” though it can be argued that it is. They call it a more generic term, “user-generated content.”

I believe that calling information journalism implies that a certain amount of research, fact-finding, and vetting, has occurred. To argue about terms however, is a waste of time.

The fact remains; journalism jobs will continue to go away until information on the Internet is monetizable. Bloggers, on the other hand will continue to write, people will tweet, and guys like me will keep making media. The public will continue to consume content like there’s no tomorrow.

Journalists who will survive, are those who are able to embrace technology, learn the online language of communications, and appreciate others who are trying in their own way to take responsibility for sharing information.

Sure, all bloggers aren’t journalists, but neither is every “personality” you see on the news.

If you were to ask me (a veteran broadcast reporter by trade) what the real value of social media is, I would say: “It’s the ability to not only capture and share information, it’s also the ability to meet diverse people, build new relationships, share knowledge, and personal branding.”

Journalists have many skills that they can use to generate income, but until they stop criticizing “we media”, and start embracing it, they will be blinded by their own ignorance about the true power of the people.

As I wrote these thoughts, I thought of this video I recently captured of former BET anchor Ed Gordon who spoke to a group of Atlanta journalists.

What are your thoughts?

Update: The irony of this debate is that traditional journalists might frown up at “citizen journalists” but as soon as a citizen captures some exclusive pictures or video, believe that the mainstream will publish the images all the same. Make sure you do your due diligence to get paid.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009


by A.man.I
My Urban Report hasn’t vetted this job post. @Supeshooter, Mario Page shared the link and it could be a great opportunity.

It’s another example of an opportunity in new media.

Good Luck!

from Craigslist

VJ Editor/Assignment Coordinator

Date: 2009-08-15, 9:03PM
SoMedia is a convergent new media company producing quality controlled, user generated video journalism content for web and TV broadcast. We are building Broad Band Network 3, a series of city-based websites across the US featuring video journalism segments. We also produce three TV series broadcast to over 75 million households in the US on CBS, ABC, FOX etc.
We are looking for a news junkie, who is plugged into the Atlanta scene, to help create and manage video journalism assignments for our Atlanta BBN3 site (the 12th of 20 BBN3 sites across North America).
This position is ideal for someone who is pursuing a career in news and would like to enhance their assignment development skills and network within the new media industry. This position will give you the opportunity to work closely with experienced film and television professionals and get a foot in the door with a growing new media company.
Check out the websites for some of our 10 current cities for examples of the kinds of assignments and videos we produce:
www dot bbn3 dot com/newyork
www dot bbn3 dot com/washingtondc
www dot bbn3 dot com/sanfrancisco


• Familiar with video/visual medium (understand what makes a story work as video rather than print)
• Familiar with current events and various media coverage of them (traditional news model and new media models)
• Familiar with the interests of our key demographic: 18-34 year olds
• Well-rounded- Must be able to find stories in different genres (entertainment, politics, sports, events, environment, etc.)
• Resourceful- Able to research and find story leads in unconventional places
• Ability to remain objective, finding diverse topics and approaching stories in a fair and impartial way.
• Skilled writer/communicator- Should be able to “sell” the story through titles and brief descriptions
• Internet savvy- Understanding of internet resources and ability to create content for website audiences (understanding of internet audiences expectations and ability to identify “viral” potential)
• Organized- Able to multi-task and complete responsibilities effectively and timely

Job Description:

The Assignment Coordinator would start by finding and composing local story assignments that meet the BBN3 mandate:
Once you have proven your skills at the assignment creation level you will have the opportunity to take on a larger role of assignment management, working with VJ’s through the development and production of their video journalism segments.

If you have what it takes you will then have a chance to move into the TV realm of SoMedia, assisting in the development of TV segments (with IMDB credit).
Additionally, this fall BBN3 will be implementing our VJ on Demand Program, which will offer Assignment Coordinators the chance to take on a Producer role in a revenue sharing model of sponsored assignments.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009


What does it mean to be an American? So often we think of the phrases like, “land of liberty,” or “home of the brave.” If you ask people around you, you may be surprised by their responses.

My brother Salim Channel took his video camera out on the streets of Northern California to find out what people think about what it means. The answers are as diverse as this nation’s population.

What does it mean to you?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009


Summary: Amani Channel interviews Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris about the arrest of Killer ex-Cop Johannes Mehserle. Johannes shot and killed Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day. Cell phone footage indicates that Grant was face down with his hands behind his back when Mehserle fired the shot that killed Grant.
Production Date: Jan 14, 2009 at Ink Spot Productions. Atlanta., GA.

Executive Producer -Amani Channel
Producer - Trey Thomas
Host- Amani Channel
Guest – John Burris
Poetry by – Salim Channel

Thursday, January 15th, 2009


by A.man.I

I have to thank independent video producer Chip Dizard for stepping up to cover the 2009 Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama for My Urban Report.

I met Chip via YouTube when I was developing the citizen journalism show UR TV for Black Family Channel back in 2006.

He had a few political stories on his channel, and I was impressed with the quality of his production. I reached out, and he took a real interest in the show, and citizen journalism.

After the network shut down, we continued to stay in touch. After he saw My Urban Report get credentialed to cover Obama’s first and only rally in Georgia, he asked if he could get credentialed through my blog to cover one of Obama’s rallies in College Park, Maryland.

I’ve been impressed with Dizard’s willingness to pick up a camera, and share his observations.

Obama’s campaign has been very open to new media, and when I couldn’t travel to DC to cover the inauguration, Dizard offered his production services to MUR.

I look forward to seeing his reports, and sharing them with you.

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009


WARNING! This embedded video is graphic in nature. It is not your typical video posted by the mainstream media.

This is the raw, uncut mobile phone video of the January 1, 2009 shooting of an unarmed man by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer. You will see BART officers detain several young African American men on suspicion of being involved in a New Year’s fight.

You will see the young men appear to be in compliance with the officers; not resisting detainment or arrest. You will then see one of the officers wrestle 22 year-old Oscar Grant to the ground face down, and place his knee on his neck. You will see this same officer stand up, pull out his service firearm, and shoot Grant in the back while he is lying prostrate.

Most press outlets do not believe you have the intellectual and emotional maturity to handle viewing this unedited video. They won’t show you the moment when the officer fired the shot that ended Grant’s life. But we at MyUrbanReport.com believe that to show you anything less than these “citizen journalist” videos in their entirety would be a disservice to you and our chosen profession.

Friday, October 17th, 2008


by A.man.I

This looks like a pretty cool citizen media project via PBS & YouTube.

Maybe something like this?

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